Administrative Support

The Harvard offices below help students and faculty from outside the United States come to Harvard, or help Harvard’s current students, faculty, and staff do their international work.

Global Support Services

Global Support Services (GSS)

GSS supports and enables international projects, travel, and operations; mitigates risks to the University and individuals; and responds to overseas emergencies
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Global Support Services (GSS)

What does Global Support Services do?

Supports and enables international projects, travel, and operations; mitigates risks to the University and individuals; and responds to overseas emergencies.

Visit the GSS website to:

  • Register your international travel in the Harvard Travel Registry
  • Research your travel destination
  • Review operational matters—such as security, employment, budgeting, customs, and immigration—for traveling, studying, researching, or managing projects abroad
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Harvard International Office

Harvard International Office (HIO)

HIO advises and supports international students and scholars at Harvard on immigration matters, and provides valuable information on living and learning at Harvard
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Harvard International Office (HIO)

What does the Harvard International Office do?

Advises and supports international students and scholars at Harvard on immigration matters, and provides valuable information on settling into the area.

Contact HIO if you are an international student or scholar and you…

  • Want help with U.S. visa processing or a work permit
  • Want help with your transition to Harvard, and to living in the U.S.
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Office of International Education

Office of International Education (OIE)

OIE supports Harvard undergraduates who wish to participate in term-time, academic year, and/or summer study abroad
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Office of International Education (OIE)

What does the Office of International Education do?

Supports Harvard undergraduates who wish to participate in term-time, academic year, and/or summer study abroad.

Contact OIE if you…

Are a Harvard undergraduate and wish to study abroad for academic credit.

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Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs

The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs promotes and oversees Harvard's global work, bringing Harvard to the world and the world to Harvard
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Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs


The mission of the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs is to support and encourage the work of Harvard students and faculty, bringing Harvard to the world and the world to Harvard. To accomplish this mission, the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs:

Promotes global engagement at Harvard by…

  • Negotiating agreements with international partners to:
    • Provide new teaching and research opportunities for Harvard faculty and students
    • Bring new international students, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows to Harvard
  • Supporting the work of Harvard’s global research centers and offices abroad
  • Managing international activities that span multiple Harvard Schools
  • Hosting events to showcase Harvard’s global work, such as Worldwide Week and Harvard Abroad; and publishing materials on Harvard’s international activities
  • Making public presentations about Harvard’s global work
  • Meeting with Harvard alumni worldwide hosting visiting delegations

Oversees Harvard’s global engagement by…

  • Ensuring that Harvard’s global activities are consistent with the University’s teaching and research missions, and with University policies
  • Managing the University Committee on International Projects and Sites
  • Reviewing international research proposals, via Provost’s Review
  • Reviewing international centers, in collaboration with other Harvard administrative offices


Contact the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs if You…

  • have general questions about Harvard’s international activities
  • have a question about Harvard’s policies for international work
  • are a member of the Harvard community and you…
    • want to sign an MOU or other legal agreement with a partner outside the U.S.
    • want to open an office outside the U.S.
    • want to know if an activity needs review by the University Committee on International Projects and Sites (UCIPS)
    • have a research proposal subject to Provost’s Review
  • have a question about this website
  • want to participate in Worldwide Week at Harvard

Contact us with these and other questions related to international engagement at Harvard.

Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and Other Agreements

Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and other agreements are excellent and important tools for governing collaborative activities with international partners. This page describes procedures Harvard follows in reviewing MOUs with international partners and guidelines that the University follows in signing them. On this page, the term “MOUs” refers to a wide variety of similar agreements such as Letters of Intent (LOI), Letters of Agreement (LOA), and the like.

When Should I Seek an MOU?

MOUs should govern a concrete activity with a partner. The purpose should be to clarify:

  • Who does what?
  • When?
  • For how long?
  • Who pays?
  • How much?

Harvard does not ordinarily sign MOUs that state only a general intention to collaborate or to initiate discussions about future collaborations.

What are the procedures for review of MOUs?

MOUs and other legal agreements with international collaborators, except those managed by a sponsored programs office, should be reviewed by the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs and the Office of General Counsel.

What guidelines and policies does Harvard follow in signing MOUs?
  • MOUs follow the University’s Use of Name policy. Thus, the Harvard party to an MOU is the individual School, department, center, or other unit that will manage the activity described by the MOU. “Harvard” is a party to an MOU only in the rare circumstances described in the Use of Name policy.
  • The Vice Provost for International Affairs must sign any MOU with a non-U.S. government.
  • MOUs with international partners always include certain standard clauses, such as a non-discrimination clause.
  • Harvard strongly supports and encourages the free flow of ideas and people between institutions of learning worldwide. Visiting student and scholar programs governed by MOUs give each party – Harvard and the partner – full authority to make its own admissions decisions and obligate neither to accept a fixed number of visiting students or scholars from the other in any given time period. This approach gives each party maximum flexibility and autonomy without sacrificing the goal of collaboration.
  • Harvard strongly prefers that its work with partner organizations takes the form of collaboration between two independent entities. The University does not ordinarily agree to establish "joint" enterprises, which involve mingled funding, governance, and naming.

Offices and Other Locations Abroad

Harvard Schools and research centers operate more than twenty offices outside the United States. Locations managed by Harvard research centers support research, teaching, and collaborative activities in their country or region by students and faculty from across the University. Locations managed by Schools support these activities for students and faculty from their individual School. Several offices have staff from a research center, who support University-wide activities, and staff from a School, who support activities of that particular School, in the same space. A full list of Harvard's locations abroad can be found here.

Proposals for new offices must be reviewed by the University Committee on International Projects and Sites (UCIPS). The UCIPS ordinarily follows a two-stage process for review of proposals for new offices abroad: first is authorization to explore; next is authorization to implement. Therefore, proposals for a new office come before UCIPS twice, usually at least six months apart, and as much as 12 months apart or more.

Proposals for a new office should include the following:

  • Brief history of the proposing unit and its (and/or Harvard’s) engagement with the country/region in question
  • The case for an office: Why an office? Why now?
  • Description of the office’s activities:
    • What will it do?
    • Will it focus primarily or exclusively on supporting work of the home unit’s faculty and students? Or might it seek to expand on the home unit’s Cambridge-based mission, perhaps by making internship or research opportunities available to students from multiple Schools, or by hosting conferences/seminars/symposia that include scholars from other graduate and professional schools? Note that there is no correct answer to these questions. Both types are represented among current Harvard offices. But either should be explained on its own merits and should acknowledge the reasons for not choosing the alternative.
  • Draft budget, staffing plan, timeline
  • Exit strategy, if relevant
    • What if the office opens but anticipated funding sources don’t materialize?
    • Is the proposing unit prepared to close the office if it “doesn’t work”?

The second proposal – proposal to implement – should be an expanded version of the first, adding details and revisions based on input from UCIPS members and the Provost.

Provost's Review

Research proposals that meet certain criteria, including those that are international and involve human subjects, are subject to Provost’s Review. Most such proposals are submitted for Provost’s Review by the relevant sponsored programs office rather than by the principal investigator. A full list of Provost’s Review criteria and procedures can be found here

University Committee on International Projects and Sites (UCIPS)

The University Committee on International Projects and Sites (UCIPS) was established by the Provost to review and facilitate major international activities at Harvard. UCIPS reviews proposals for significant activities abroad, including the establishment of Harvard “offices” and other locations abroad; discusses University-wide policies that affect Harvard’s international activities; and reviews ongoing international activities at the request of the President, Provost, or Deans. It provides recommendations to Deans and faculty members in support of major international proposals. The UCIPS is advisory to the Provost, who appoints its members.

Proposals that are international and that meet any of the following criteria are reviewed by UCIPS:

  • The proposal involves the establishment of a new international office or other physical location
  • The proposal has an annual budget greater than $1.0 million or other threshold specific to the School (see Provost’s Review criteria)
  • The proposal involves the use of the Harvard name
  • The proposal involves a scope of work that is unusual, complex or high risk

The UCIPS includes at least one faculty representative from each School of the University. It is chaired by the Vice Provost for International Affairs. A full list of members can be found here. For more information or with questions, please contact Shaira Kochubaeva.


Harvard Abroad

Harvard Abroad is a half-day conference on international activities at Harvard, hosted annually at the start of the Spring semester by the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs. Harvard administrators and faculty are the target audience for Harvard Abroad, and the event ordinarily features Deans and other senior administrators discussing strategic priorities for global engagement at their School. For more information, contact Emily Albrecht in the Office of the VPIA (

Worldwide Week at Harvard

Hosted by the Office of the VPIA since 2017, “Worldwide Week at Harvard” showcases the remarkable breadth and depth of Harvard’s global engagement. During Worldwide Week, Harvard Schools, research centers, departments, and student organizations host academic and cultural events with global or international themes. 

Our Team

Mark C. Elliott | Vice Provost for International Affairs

Vice Provost for International Affairs
Mark Schwartz Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History

Mark Elliott is Vice Provost of International Affairs at Harvard University and the Mark Schwartz Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and in the Department of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

As Vice Provost, Elliott oversees and works to advance international academic initiatives, extending the global reach of Harvard’s research and teaching activities. In this capacity, Elliott serves as the University’s representative in negotiating agreements with foreign governments, receiving senior-level international delegations, and representing Harvard to peer institutions and alumni worldwide. In addition, he shares responsibility for supporting the community of international students, scholars, and faculty in Cambridge and Boston, as well as for guiding Harvard’s overall global strategy and sustaining its ongoing development as a global university.

Elliott is an authority on the last four centuries of Chinese history, in particular the Qing period (1636-1911). His research encompasses the history of relations between China and its nomadic frontier, with special attention to questions of ethnicity and empire. His first book, The Manchu Way, is a pioneering study in the “New Qing History,” an approach emphasizing the imprint of Inner Asian traditions upon China’s last imperial state. He is also the author of Emperor Qianlong: Son of Heaven, Man of the World, and has published more than twenty-five scholarly articles. He serves on numerous editorial boards, and was for three years the director of the Fairbank Center of Chinese Studies. He can be found on Twitter at @Mark_C_Elliott.

Contact: Assisted by Emily Albrecht (

Shaira Kochubaeva | Assistant Provost for International Affairs

Senior Assistant Provost for International Affairs

As Assistant Provost for International Affairs, Shaira Kochubaeva supports the Provost’s efforts to expand Harvard’s global work. Among other tasks, Kochubaeva helps Harvard Schools, centers, and faculty members negotiate agreements with international partners; advises faculty, students, and staff on Harvard policies and procedures as they relate to global teaching and research activities; reviews international research proposals in collaboration with the Office of the Vice Provost for Research; staffs the University Committee on International Projects and Sites (UCIPS) and consults with faculty members who have business before the UCIPS; oversees the management of complex international activities; and assists the Vice Provost for International Affairs in oversight of Harvard’s international Inter-Faculty Initiatives. 

Contact:,  +1 617-496-5974

Jessica McCann | Communications Officer

Communications Officer


Emily Albrecht | Executive Assistant/Administrative Coordinator

Executive Assistant/Administrative Coordinator


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